Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.
Othello Act III, William Shakespeare
Why is Mark Hix, a man with a most excellent CV and reputation, allowing this to be so tarnished by these London institutions that now bare his name? He needs to know what sins are being perpetrated under his banner: we're sure it's not what he stands for.
Heralded as the best bar in London in Time Out magazine, Hix Bar was clearly somewhere we had to try. Having spotted the Hix neon sign through Soho’s clutter, the imposing and closed oak door left us wondering if they were in fact open for business today but pushing through, we found yes, they were, and passing the restaurant on the left, we headed down to ‘Mark’s’, the basement bar.
First, on the decor, this was a confused place, like a twenty something’s bedroom that has yet to clear the adolescent junk of the previous decade (a bar billiards table for example) while showing pretensions to sophistication (a scattering of deep recline leather sofas). Bad enough, but elsewhere, the Ikea stock of wooden back chairs gave the whole thing a factory canteen style air. While the chairs may have given it the flavour, the roster of staff eating at the bar put the flesh on the bones. True, it was 4:30 in the afternoon and the staff were no doubt snacking between the lunch and the dinner service but despite being the only paying customers in the bar, they couldn’t have been less interested in us than if we entered the bar wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan ‘we’ve got Herpes, kiss me’. Worse was to come.
We asked for something in the sour family, open to whatever base spirit; our waiter seemed slightly lost though suggested a gin with lemon twist and when pushed for a second drink, a rum based cocktail. Knock us out.
When we were at the Connaught Bar (see our previous post), Erik made us two incredible cocktails when we said surprise us; he did, we sat, we drank; in short, we were in awe. Here alas, we were only in awe of how bad their ‘speciality’ was. Both cocktails suffered from an extreme degree, indeed eye watering degree, of sourness; neither had any sense of balance at all. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And in the time spent there, I never saw the bar tender tasting the output even once. The gin/lemon cocktail was like a sour highball lemonade and the rum base was little more than a neighbour’s BBQ rum punch with lemon and bitters; both were totally one dimensional.
We asked for the bill and left with three quarters of each cocktail still sitting in the glass. The ‘shocking’ thing is, given the choice between paying for a single cocktail at full price at the Connaught Bar or having five free cocktails at Hix, the Connaught wins every time, life’s too short to waste on inconsequential drinking; if I’m going to die of cirrhosis of the liver, I want it to count and at Hix, it simply doesn’t.